To understand this portion of the series a little better we must have a general idea of what a subculture is or at least what it could be defined as. A subculture typically consists of individuals that are like-minded who sometimes define their actions as pro-social. In this case, hackers can share the same values specified within their own code of ethics, so to speak. These values exist via real world communications and through similar styles within the virtual arena. The way they define their hacking styles differentiates their activities from either being criminal, learning experiences, or educational.
For the “criminal” hacker, they think of their hacks as positive actions that are accepted and supported by like-minded members of their subculture. So, what do hackers think of hackers? I think this could only be answered by actual hackers, however, if you would like to provide an answer feel free to do so. Or you could answer this question: What do you think of hackers?
Next: Hacking Subculture: Part Five – Is there a difference between a Computer Criminal and a Hacker?
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In terms of law enforcement, the word to look for is intent. Finding the intent of an intruder/hacker is often times difficult for investigators in determining if data was altered or if it was just browsed through. Either way, a good deal of investigative efforts needs to be conducted to figure out what, if any data was altered or if any malicious intent was present in the breach. However, law enforcement personnel investigating hackers know that malicious intent is not necessary all the time for any type of hacking crime to occur as the issue being investigated may be a result of simple employee negligence or honest mistakes. Generally, law enforcement does not recognize the hacker’s right to review any systems, computer resources, or data of someone else.
The difference in the perception of hackers does however make it difficult for law enforcement to understand a hacker. With that said, one could say that law enforcement thinks of hackers as any other criminal with the exception that they are more difficult to investigate and catch. What do you think?
Next: Hacking Subculture: Part four – What do hackers think of hackers?
It seems that since the public became aware of hackers there has been many news stories that portrayed hackers as frightening invisible criminals, which in some cases may be correct but are all hackers criminals? The media tends to focus on the malicious attacks against networks, especially those conducted against government agencies. They also seem to take small portions of a story and rearrange it to make it out as they want it to be. However, if the whole story is read, the reader may and most likely will understand what actually happened rather than what is told and this goes for just about any news story. The tendency to publish only the worst-case scenarios of hacking crimes seems to sell to the general audience.
With many other news stories out there, the nature and implied threat to the audience changes the story from being a distant curiosity to an immediate threat, including news about hackers. This sort of thing leaves aspiring hackers (those who tend to use their skills for the better) to sometimes fall into the medias portrayals of hacking. With that said, there are those times that the media does acknowledge that hackers are sometimes responsible for preventing serious attacks. If you were/are a journalist what do you think of hackers?
Next: Hacking Subculture: Part three – What does law enforcement think of hacking?
The hacker population consists of many individuals that have a broad spectrum of different motivations and skill sets that define each one on a personal level. Some just enjoy exploring programmable systems to test their capabilities while others are just plain malicious and intend to locate sensitive information for reasons known to them. Others are actually employed to stop unauthorized access to a computers system ultimately helping an organization with necessary computer and/or system upgrades to prevent or mitigate future attacks. In general, there does not seem to be a real consensus on what labels one as a hacker mostly because of the range of activities the hacker engages in, legal or illegal activities. With that said, a hacker can be either good or bad and that is determined by their motivation.
What do you think a hacker is defined as?
Next: Hacking Subculture: Part two – What does the media think of hacking?